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January 2016 PC Builds – ( $1500 $1000 & $600 )

Gaming PC Builds – January 2016

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Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:

Welcome everyone to the January 2016 gaming pc builds of the month and Happy New Year!

There have been a few changes overall for those of you that have been following month to month so please check those below. I have also switched up the labeling slightly for the builds this month to make the choice for you (the builder) easier by clarifying what you might expect in terms of performance in terms of at what resolutions you play at and what settings you want to get out of your gaming pc build.

The $1500 build should be for those that want to game at 1400p resolutions maxed out in most games with high FPS rates and will even suit those that want to try out 4K gaming (albeit not at the highest settings). The $1000 build should be suited for those expecting to max out any game at 1080p with high frame rates and even for those that want to dabble into 1440p gameplay now or in the future (although you may have to scale some setting back in games at 1440p). Finally, the $600 build is for those wanting to game while maxing out some games at 1080p with high frame rates while scaling the settings back slightly in others.

If you have any questions about the builds or your specific build please leave a comment below as its always great to see and hear from new and returning builders as well it may even help others looking to build a new gaming pc. I really do enjoy writing these build articles every month and look to continue doing so throughout 2016. Also keep an eye out for some other articles such as product overviews and even the gaming pc peripherals of the month articles for those looking for mice, keyboards and monitors to coincide with their gaming machine.

January 2016 1440p PC Build ( $1514 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1400 and 1920×1080 & 4K!

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price : $1514.00
Processor Intel Boxed Core I5-6600K 3.50 GHz, 6 M Processor Cache 6 for LGA 1151 (BX80662I56600K) $289.89
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $29.99
Motherboard Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 ATX Motherboard ATX DDR4 NA Motherboards (GA-Z170X-GAMING 5) $177.78
Graphics Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked 6GB GDDR5 PCiE Video Card Graphics Cards (GV-N98TWF3OC-6GD) $629.99
RAM $86.17
Hard Drive *No HDD Included – Optional. See Alternatives Section.  –
SSD Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM) $83.43
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 80+ GOLD, 750W ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR $89.99
Computer Case Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis with Window Cases PH-ES614P_BK $89.99
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional (LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B)

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

So this month (to bring in the new year) I have switched up the labeling of the builds to more accommodate and help you choose a gaming pc that fits your particular goals. By goals, I mean the resolutions and rough settings that you may want to be gaming at. This build is for those that are looking to max out most games with resolutions up to 2560×1440 (1440p) resolutions and even for those that want a little bit of “future-proofing” in their build.

Here we have an Intel i5 6600K processor and the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 980Ti graphics card – the real power houses to running this high performing pc build (see some of the GTX 980Ti Benchmarks done by TomsHardware for proof).

The included CPU cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler will help you overclock the 6600K easily and you need a cpu cooler since the Skylake processors (such as the Intel 6600K) don’t come with a stock cooler (and the Hyper 212 Evo is one of the highest rated air coolers; especially for the cost). For those who want to spend a little more, there is even a liquid CPU (the Corsair H100i) included in the hardware alternatives section below, which will give you a much quieter, more customized cooling experience.

For a motherboard, included is a Gigabyte GA-Z170X-GAMING 5, which is the middle board in Gigabyte’s G1 Z170 motherboard lineup. This board has the following specifications (learn more at Gigabyte.com):

16Gb of RAM are included in the top end build in this article, but with the skylake cpu / z170 chipset motherboard combo, we can now include the newer DDR4 memory instead of DDR3. Included is 16GB (two 8GB sticks) of Corsair Ballistix Sport RAM, plenty of memory for this gaming pc build and priced well too.

No longer included in this build is an HDD, instead all we have is a Solid State Drive “SSD”, which will perform much better helping with those load / boot times and reading speeds. The included SSD is the Samsung 850 EVO 250GB which will give you enough space for your OS and to store numerous games / software. If you find you will need more storage you can always add in a separate HDD (such as the $600 builds included 1TB Seagate drive or a more expensive 1TB SSD).

The power supply used for many months is the highly rated EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2 Gold Certified power supply, which is a high quality & efficient PSU and I highly recommend it and it should be more then enough for the $1500 build. Keep in mind that for those that do plan on going with SLI (two graphics cards / GTX 980Ti’s) in the future that you will want to plan for at least an 850W high quality PSU (such as the 850W EVGA SuperNOVA G2)

The PC case I’ve included this month (as I have a couple of times before) is a Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower. This is a perfectly crafted full tower case that is built well and has plenty of room for any additions you may want to throw at it. You can get it with a side window or without, in black, green or even in white. Phanteks’s case features are as follows (Phanteks.com):

Enthoo Pro includes 1 x 200mm fan in front and 1 x 140mm fan in the rear. Ability to upgrade to additional fans is possible. All fans included are Phanteks new redesigned and better performing SP series fans. Budget friendly case, Phanteks Enthoo Pro, unleash unlimited possibilities.

*Note: I have now started to leave out optical drives in all of my pc builds. The main reason is that I’m finding there is little use to having one anymore and it does bring the overall cost of the build down slightly. I also find the biggest usage to having one is to install Windows / your Operating System, which can be easily accomplished via a USB stick or external hard drive.

$1500 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

The following are some extra alternative hardware for those that have a little more to spend or for those that want upgrade ideas for the future for the above $1500 gaming pc build either now or in the future.

Included in the build is an i5 Intel 6600K Skylake, but for those that do more then gaming perhaps an Intel i7 6700K cpu might be needed; this would be beneficial for those that do video work or even graphics work where there is some rendering that could benefit from an i7.

As I stated in the $1500 gaming pc build overview above, there is no HDD included in the build  which shouldn’t matter for most unless you need lots of storage room. Included below is a larger SanDisk Extreme PRO 1TB SSD for those that may want the extra space, but also want to use one drive for ultimate speeds on an SSD.

You could also really increase your graphics power by SLI’ing the Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti by adding in a second PNY GeForce GTX 980 Ti, but it will cost you another $639.99 or so. This could also be a future upgrade idea to boost your gaming pc’s performance when you need it later on, but right now it probably isn;t worth it unless you are serious about 4K gaming. If you do plan on going SLI’ing in the future or now, you should consider getting at least an 850W PSU such as the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2.

Also included below is the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX liquid cpu cooler. This cooler would be a substitute for the above included Hyper 212 EVO air cpu cooler and would provide a quieter, more efficient / more customized cooling experience.

Intel Boxed Core I7-6700K 4.00 GHz 8M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I76700K ($466) – Do more then gaming? Like show off? – Then an i7 might be the right choice
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked 6GB GDDR5 PCiE Video Card Graphics Cards (GV-N98TWF3OC-6GD) ($639.99) – SLI with two GTX 980 Ti’s for some super graphics performance.*If you want to SLI you should consider at least an 850W psu such as the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2 PSU ($120.03).
Purchase a liquid CPU cooler (instead of the included air cooler): Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060021-WW ($104.20) A very fast 1TB SSD: SanDisk Extreme PRO 960GB SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With 10-Year Warranty- SDSSDXPS-960G-G25 ($379.99)


January 2016 PC Builds ( $1030 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1400

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $1030.00
Processor Intel Boxed Core I5-6600K 3.50 GHz, 6 M Processor Cache 6 for LGA 1151 (BX80662I56600K) $289.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $28.99  
Motherboard $153.01
Graphics Card

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16

Alternative card (Should you consider 1440p now or in the future)

XFX DOUBLE DISSIPATION R9 390 1015MHZ XXX OC 8GB DDR5 DISPLAYPORT HDMI DUAL DVI

$299.99

 

$319.99


RAM $59.43
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $48.10  
SSD (Alternative Storage) Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM)  $67.99  
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1 80+ GOLD, 650W Continuous Power, Fully Modular 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR $74.88
Computer Case $69.99
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional (LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B)

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

As stated in the build above, I have switch up the labeling of the monthly builds a tad for the start of 2016 so that they fall roughly under the currently laid out budgets as well to clarify what they are capable of. The January 2016 $1000 gaming pc build is capable of maxing out most games at around 60fps at 1920×1080 resolutions and can even do reasonably well at 2560×1440 depending on the game. This build uses a combination of the Skylake Intel i5 6600K cpu and a GTX 970 graphics card or alternatively an R9 390 if you want to consider upping to 1440p anytime in the future (the extra memory will on the R9 390 will help with this).

Like the $1500 build above also includes, included is the highly rated Cooler Master Hype 212 cpu cooler, this helps tremendously when overclocking your unlocked Intel i5 6600K processor and since the Intel i5 6600K doesn’t come with a stock cooler, you need to purchase a cpu cooler anyhow. If you check out the hardware alternative table below, you will also see an option for a liquid cpu cooler which could be for those that want a quieter more customized cooling option should you have the extra cash for it.

The included z170 chipset motherboard we have is the board right below the included Gaming 5 motherboard in the above build, which is the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 3. This motherboard does support both Crossfire and SLI, so that you do have the option to include two of either the graphics card options as an upgrade suggestion for the future. The Gaming 3 motherboard has the following specifications (and you can learn more on the product page at gigabyte.com):

There are two graphics card included in the build table above as they are tight competitors both in terms of price and performance. The first graphics card included, is the Zotac GeForce GTX 970  and alternatively for a similar price there is also a XFX R9 390. Both of these cards will perform very similarly, so I’ll leave the choice as to which you would like to go with, but you can probably choose based on what resolution you’ll primarily be playing at – such as if you have a 1080- monitor you’ll probably be best maxing out games with the GTX 970 with high FPS and if you plan on either upgrading in the future to a 1440p monitor or have one, then the R9 390 may help with playing on the highest possible settings due to it having more memory. Either way my suggestion would be to still look up some benchmarks on the games yo plan on playing (such as on youtube) and see which card may be the best fit for you.

The RAM included is a kit of Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR4 RAM, which is generally enough memory for a standard gaming pc build, and you always have the option to upgrade more (ie. 16GB by adding in two more 8GB sticks in the future).

To accommodate for some cost changes this month I have reintroduced the Seagate 1TB HDD back into this build. 1TB is tons of space for a gaming generally, but I would suggest sometime that you include a solid state drive “SSD” into the mix to enhance your boot times and overall feeling of quickness with your pc. You have a couple of options for doing this, such as adding in a cheaper 120GB SSD, installing your OS on it and most played games and throwing the rest of your data on to the 1TB drive, which will quicken the booting of your gaming pc and those games, or spending a bit more and going with a 250GB SSD instead (as seen in the alternatives table below) and using it as your primary drive.

The power supply unit used is the EVGA SuperNOVA G1 650W power supply, which is a great PSU with all modular cables and it provides the perfect amount of power for this build along with room for some upgrades. For it’s price, quality and the fact that it’s modular, you really can’t go wrong with this power supply.

The gaming pc case included for January 2016 is actually a newer release from BitFenix – the Bitfenix Nova. This case is stylish, performs well, is silent and has a simplistic design. If you want to read a review on it, I’ve found the vortez.net on to be in depth with them stating that the BitFenix Nova is an “Amazing Value”, while even BitFenix is coinciding the NOVA case case name as being “Budget Evolved” (BitFenix.com Nova Overview).

$1000 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

Here is some alternative hardware upgrades for those wanting to spend a tad more or for those that want some upgrade ideas for the January 2016 $1000 Gaming PC build.

If you want more graphic power in the future you could potentially Crossfire two R9 390’s. If you go this route, then you will also need a stronger power supply, as much as 850w, which I have included along side that recommendation below (I would only consider the larger PSU if you really plan on doing this). Likewise, if you go the GTX 970 route, you can add in another ASUS Turbo GTX 970 in SLI to boost your graphics as well.

There is now an SSD included in the base $1000 build, but featured below is a super fast quality SSD, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD – or maybe you have tons of media or simply need extra space, so you could also get the 2TB version of the Seagate HDD.

You could also  go with a liquid cpu cooler such as the Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT. This could help keep things quiet and a tad cooler when overclocking and it offers a more customize cooling experience (learn more about the Corsair h80i GT at Corsair.com).

*Note: If you plan on doing Crossfire or SLI you will probably want at least an 850W power supply such as –EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 80+ GOLD, 850W ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 220-G2-0850-XR PSU ($109.99).

Add a 250GB SSD:Samsung 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM SATA III Internal SSD 250GB (Black,2.5-Inch)= ($81.61) – Crossfire your graphics card:
(*Potential future proofing upgrade? – *only if you went with the AMD R9 390) XFX DOUBLE DISSIPATION R9 390 1015MHZ XXX OC 8GB DDR5 DISPLAYPORT HDMI DUAL DVI +(additional $319.99)

SLI your graphics card: (*Potential future proofing upgrade? – *only if you went with the GTX 970) ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 (additional $299.99)

 

More Hard Drive Space With 2TB (or 1TB available) –Seagate 2TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST2000DM001) Price: $70.26 Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060017-WW – Add a liquid CPU Cooler for quieter, more customized and efficient cooling ($89.99)


Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $600): January 2016

(Game at Smoothly with High settings at 1920X1080 resolutions in most games)

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 600.40
Processor $135.99
Motherboard
ASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$93.99
Graphics Card XFX Double Dissipation OC 2GB DDR5 Display Port HDMI DUAL DVI Graphics Cards R9-380 $179.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00/BLS2CP4G3D1609DS1S00 $37.49
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $47.18
Power Supply EVGA 600 B1 80+ BRONZE, 600W Continuous Power, 3 Year Warranty Power Supply 100-B1-0600-KR $39.99
Computer Case Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus – Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Windowed Side Panel $58.04
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional (LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B)

Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build

The $600 gaming pc build is a standard gaming pc build for those that want to get into PC gaming at a reasonable cost and even though this is the lowest budget build here, it’s a fully capable 1080p gaming machine that you can expect to play a variety of games maxed out with decent fps. As stated above, the labeling of the builds has changed a bit this month to give you a clearer picture as to what you might expect in terms of playing games at a specific resolutions and at what settings. The $600 build here should be capable of 1080p gaming maxing some and then scaling back on the details on some others.

Included is the AMD FX-8320 8 Core Black Edition processor, which provides significant potential for a $600 budget gaming PC and this processor is also unlocked and easily overclockable (to get the full potential of overclocking I do suggest upgrading the cpu cooler, such as the one included in the hardware alternatives table below).

The motherboard included is the ASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970.  This has been a popular budget AM3+ motherboard for quite some time and has been included in the $600 build here at Newb Computer Build for quite some time as well – the Asus M5a97 has the following specification according to Asus (read more at asus.com):

This month there has been an upgrade in a graphics card to the XFX R9 380, which fits comfortably into the budget and the performance goals of this build.

The included memory is  a kit of  Crucial Ballistix Spor DDR3 8GB, which should be enough memory for this gaming pc. And for a hard drive we have a 1TB Seagate Barracuda, which is a standard HDD with plenty of space at a great price – you can check out the hardware alternatives table if you would be interested in using a solid state drive instead, which I also strongly recommend.

For a power supply, we have the EVGA 600B 600Watt power supply, this is a great budget PSU and more then enough power for this build.

For January 2016, the included PC case for the $600 build is the Corsair Carbide 200R, which has actually been out for a few years, and has always been an extreme value case for budget oriented enthusiasts. This case is super easy to build with, great airflow, ergonomic and has a very polished matte look. To learn more about the Carbide 200R please visit Corsair.com.

Upgrade Suggestions for the $600 Gaming PC Build:

If you want some suggestions for upgrades or some hardware alternatives to those in the gaming pc hardware in the January $600 pc build above, then you may be interested in some of the suggestions below.

I would suggest a CPU cooler other then the included FX 8320 stock cooler if you want to take full advantage of overclocking, such as the Corsair Hydro Series H55 liquid cpu cooler – I’ve included this cooler since it provides a quality low profile solution as a higher air cooler may be a tad tight for this build, although you can fit in a more affordable Cooler Master Hyper 212 in the above case as well, which would work perfectly fine.

The second choice here is a better graphics card, such as the Sapphire NITRO R9 380X. This may be worth while if you have a little more to spend now and is a brand new card released last month.

You can speed up your read and write times with an affordable  solid state drive such as the 120 GB Samsung 850 EVO you see below, which can either be purchased with the included HDD in the $600 build above, or on its own. Likewise, you can also up the SSD to the 250GB version for not much more and just go with that as well.

There is also a better motherboard suggestion for those that may have a tad more to spend on one – the included motherboard is the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5, which supports better overclocking and Crossfire + SLI Support (so you can add in two R9 380’s in the future should you want to).

Better CPU Cooler (liquid cooler): Corsair Hydro Series H55 Quiet Edition Liquid CPU Cooler (CW-9060010-WW) ($59.99) OR you can get a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($29.99) Better Graphics Card (Radeon R9 380X –*Newly released graphics card): Sapphire Radeon NITRO R9 380X 4GB DL-DVI-I/DL-DVI-D/HDMI/ DP Dual-X OC Graphics Card 11250-01-20G ($249.99)
Better Motherboard – Gigabyte AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX DDR3 1600 AMD – AM3+ Motherboards GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 Price: $144.99

January 2016 Gaming PC Build Mice, Keyboard & Monitor Peripheral Considerations

The peripheral considerations are included as an attachment to the January 2016 gaming pc builds of the month and is for those looking to purchase a gaming keyboard, mouse or monitor – check it out here.

Operating System Options

If you don’t already have an operating system for your new gaming pc build, then you’re going to have to either invest in purchasing a standard OS such as Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10. Otherwise, there are some free alternatives that you could consider below as well. Keep in mind that you will need an optical drive should you decide to purchase the install discs, however you can also purchase Windows online or as a USB stick and install it that way – this would be the process for installing your OS without an optical drive (which isn’t included in each of the base builds above).

The following are some operating systems you can consider installing upon putting your Gaming PC build together. The first three will cost you and are either Windows 7 or 8.1, or 10 – I have no opinions here so I’ll leave the purchase of these up to the discretion of yourself, but do keep in mind that either way you do have the option of upgrading to Windows 10 for now. I have also included two other operating systems that are both currently free. Ubuntu is a Linux based operating system. The last OS is SteamOS, which is also a Linux OS being developed by Valve Corporation and is being made to be used for a Steam Machine game console.

OS Link Price Image
Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit $95.99  
Windows 7 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, System Builder OEM DVD 1 Pack (New Packaging) $116.57  
Windows 10 Upgrade Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit System Builder OEM | PC Disc $96.93  
Ubuntu Ubuntu – Desktop Free
SteamOS SteamOS Beta “Build your own Steam Machine” Free

January 2016’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:

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